Best Gas Masks & Respirators For Survival

Survival is a word that has been thrown around a lot. It means different things to different people. For some, it means being able to survive without food or water. Others might think of it as surviving an attack by a wild animal.

Survival is truly about being prepared for anything. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or even a zombie apocalypse, having the proper gear can mean the difference between life and death.

Gas masks are one of those survival pieces of gear that you just hope you never have to use, but might be good to have for one of those just-in-case scenarios.

Unfortunately, we live in a world anything can happen, whether that’s a natural or man-made disaster. Humanity is stepping into a precarious time which makes having a plan b a good idea.

We researched and found a list of gas masks that are a far cry from Vietnam-era masks that we are all used to seeing on TV. These masks might just be the best gas masks out there.

Best Gas Masks

1. MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask

Best Overall Gas Mask

Price: $$$$

Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 8 inches

Weight: 0.99 Kilograms 

Materials: Silicone

Pros: Long-lasting gas mask, Easy communication, Compatible with glasses, Comfortable to use with a helmet, LEO approved

Cons: The elastic straps lack quick releases

MIRA SAFETY M CBRN Full Face Reusable Respirator-Mask

Description: This device by Mira Safety features a comfortable fit and is compatible with NBC filters. The mask offers military-grade construction and can protect your respiratory system, face, and internal organs from chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals including noxious fumes, radioactive dust, vaporized pollutants, and more. It can stay on the shelf for up to 10 years so you can keep it stored until you need it.

When using this mask, you can pop in standard filter cartridges offered by a large number of brands. This mask is used by police and government entities in countries like Chile, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Norway, and several others. It is manufactured from bromobutyl rubber to meet protection standards and has a full-face design for a panoramic view. The inner mask is made of a hypoallergenic material to prevent fogging.

If you aren’t sure about the protection offered by this mask, it’s backed by testing in mustard gas for almost 30 hours. It is compatible with helmets and comes with a hydration system and canteen. It can be used for painting, law enforcement, welding, industrial, and construction applications. This device also offers a five-year manufacturer warranty, so you know it’s durable and long-lasting.

The mask has a drinking system and external canteen integrated into the design as well as making extra room for people who wear glasses. It’s designed for using it for the long term, which they had in mind when including the filtration system but also its comfort and ability to communicate with other effectively while wearing it.

MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask
MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask

There is an inbuilt speed diaphragm that allows you to communicate easily. The MIRA CM-6M is built in a way that ensures there is no distortion of vision with its panoramic visor as well as giving room for adequate airflow which prevents fogging.

There is also a built-in hair net that makes sure your hair does not get trapped in the gas mask. To crown it all, you can use this gas mask conveniently with a helmet. With its two standard filter ports it allows for easy breathing with minimal resistance. The mask is compatible with the 3M safety spectacle kit, the standard filters used on most gas masks and is designed to give the best seal with butyl rubber and a NATO filter and the mask has an NBC rating. What more could oyu ask for?

2.3M FX Full Facepiece Respirator FF-402

Best Designed Mask

Price: $$

Dimensions: 9.5 x 8 x 5.5 inches

Weight: 1.7 pounds

Material: Silicone

Pros: Fits perfectly, Adjustable, Lens resistant to paint and stain, Ease to use, Quality gas mask

Cons: The straps sometimes are loose

3M Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator FF-402, Mold, Painting, Sanding, Chemicals, Gases, Dust, Medium

Description: 3M’s Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator is a gas mask that comes with 6 straps that give it a perfect fit for your face. It is an easy-to-clean mask that includes an airtight seal for your face and a silicone nose cup.

The 3M lens is structured to aid a wide-angle view and makes it easy to see even in low light conditions. This gas mask features a cool flow valve that increases airflow so it doesn’t get super hot or fog up. It uses a Scotchguard coating that prevents stains and any paint from entering the lens.

3M FX Full Facepiece Respirator FF-402
3M FX Full Facepiece Respirator FF-402

The 3M™ Ultimate™ FX Full-Facepiece Respirator is designed to fit a wide range of face sizes and shapes. The clear, optical-quality polycarbonate lens can be adjusted so that no matter what size your head is, you can make it snug.

The silicone facepiece makes it so that stains and adhesives won’t damage it and also makes it easy to clean. This respirator is lightweight which thankfully makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time – just in case you have to.

3. PD-100 Full Face Gas Mask

Best Budget Option

Price: $

Dimension: 9.61 x 8.11 x 5.43 inches

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Material: Plastic

Pros: Lightweight, Comfortable, Eases communication, Air circulation that is anti-fog, High-density electric straps

Cons: You cannot take very deep breaths

PD-100 Full Face Gas Mask & Organic Vapor Respirator

Description: The PD-100 comes with an airtight, quality silicon material that safeguards you from all kinds of dangerous gases. The wide range of filter technology inside provides extra protection against both manmade gases and organic vapors.

PD-100 Full Face Gas Mask
PD-100 Full Face Gas Mask

The PD-100 full-face gas mask is designed to protect you from things like air pollution, germs and bacteria, but also serious chemicals and biochemicals as well. It is made of medical-grade plastic material with a non-toxic organic vapor respirator, which makes the inhalation healthy and safe.

This one comes with adjustable elastic straps and fits most people’s faces comfortably even people with glasses or beards seem to have an air-tight fit. These types of masks are worn a lot by people who work with hazardous fumes, dust and chemicals. The biggest difference between one of these types of masks and a regular face mask as a gas mask is air-tight! Which makes the world of difference.

4. 3M Respirator 6900

Best Small Fit

Price: $$

Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 8 inches 

Weight: 1.20 lbs

Material: Silicone

Pros: Well-balanced gas mask, Easy to care for, High impact, Wide field of view, It does not leak

Cons: It doesn’t include a filter, Uncomfortable for users of glasses

3M Safety 142-6900 Safety Reusable Full Face Mask Respirator, Dark Grey

Description: The 3M 6900 Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator is a lightweight well-balanced design with a silicone face seal and an integrated optical correction that helps reduce distortion when looking through the mask at angles. The 6900 is the “Large” size and the company also sells two smaller variations, the 6800 and the 6700 for those of us will smaller heads. This is a more fitted mask so if you have a long beard I would look for something else.

3M Respirator 6900
3M Respirator 6900

The mask provides a large field of view together with a 3M flow valve that helps keep the mask cool and dry. The mask has an adapter that helps to keep exhaled breath travel downwards to avoid fogging up the mask.

This mask is made out of silicone and so it is light and more comfortable than you would normally find. With some reviews even saying that they didn’t even notice that they were wearing a mask after a while. The mas uses M 2000 Series Filters, 3M Filter 7093 P100, 3M 6000 Series Cartridges. 

5. PD-101 Full Face Gas Mask

Best Multi-Purpose Mask

Price: $$

Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 8 inches 

Weight: 1.20 lbs

Material: Silicone

Pros: A high-quality filtration system, Suitable for a wide range of uses, Resistant to impact, Anti-fogging, Easy to replace filters

Cons: Poor performance under hot conditions, Communication is easy only within close range

Parcil Safety 101 Series Respirators & Filters

Description: The PD-1010 Full Face Gas Mask has charcoal filters that are dual activated and are compatible with 3M Respirator cartridges. The mask has a nice ergonomic design as well as a good voice amplification system and an air system that prevents the mask from fogging up.

PD-101 Full Face Gas Mask
PD-101 Full Face Gas Mask

Parcil is a professional industrial labor manufacturer based out of USA and provides 1-year warranty on its gear, which isn’t too bad (not the greatest either). Some of the other features include impact-resistant, sound repeating diaphragm and replacement filters that filter everything from dust and gasoline to acetone alcohols.

This mass was made specifically for working professionals in mind and as a result, it is not as sleek or light as some of the others and instead is a bit more heavy-duty. This might not be the one you want if you going to be using it as a survival situation as it’s a bit bigger and heavier, though would work better for on the job.

6. Honeywell North 7600 Series Silicone Respirator

Best NIOSH Approved Mask

Price: $$$

Dimensions: ‎11.5 x 8 x 7 inches

Weight: 15 ounces

Materials: Silicone

Pros: Full vision mask, speech diaphragm option, Niosh approved

Cons: Can be used only with some types of glasses

Honeywell North 7600 Series Niosh-Approved Full Facepiece Silicone Respirator, Med/Large (760008A)
Honeywell North 7600 Series Silicone Respirator
Honeywell North 7600 Series Silicone Respirator

Description: The Honeywell North 7600 Series is a Niosh-approved full facepiece silicone gas mask features a lightweight silicone facepiece with an adjustable head harness that gives you a secure fit and seal. The North 7600 has been NIOSH approved for use against a wide range of organic vapors, ammonia, chlorine gas, hydrogen chloride

The design features honeycomb-shaped silicone cushions, which provide better seal and has a PAPR (powered air purifying respirator) was designed for workers who need protection from particulates, gases, vapors or airborne contaminants while working in environments where they are required to wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

7. 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6800

Best Mask for Tradespersons

Price: $$

Dimensions: ‎10 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches

Weight: ‎1.4 pounds

Materials: Silicone & thermoplastic elastomer

Pros: Lightweight, Exhalation is pushed downward so as to not fog up the mask

Cons: Not sufficient for

3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6800, Paint Vapors, Dust, Mold, Chemicals, 
3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6800
3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6800

Description: The 3M 6800 was designed specifically for professionals working in an environment where there are lots of airborne particles and dust. The 3M 6800 facepiece is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to wear. It has a silicone face seal

It also offers a cool flow valve that helps provide cool, dry comfort while you are wearing it. The center adapter directs exhaled breath and moisture downward so your vision stays clear as you work. The lens of this mask is large so it provides a wide field of view for excellent visibility.

8. 3M Full-Facepiece Spray Paint Respirator – Organic Vapor

3M Full-Facepiece Spray Paint Respirator – Organic Vapor

This gas mask is a modern option that has a great seal through a full-face gas mask. This ensures you have the maximum level of visibility while you have it on and that it provides a high level of protection at the same time. It is designed to offer protection from particles in the air when painting, cleaning, sanding, or polishing. You can breathe in the fresh air no matter what you are doing.

If you have ever experienced issues with coughing and having trouble breathing when spray painting or doing other projects, this 3M spray paint respirator could be the perfect solution to the problem. The same applies to sanding, which can send up lots of tiny particles that can get into your eyes. This can lead to irritation and make them burn. The device will prevent that situation from occurring.

After you put on the mask and get an airtight seal, you aren’t going to have anything unwanted in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Beyond that, this device was created to be comfortable and is lightweight even when in use for a long time period. However, keep in mind that the item doesn’t work with glasses, so you will need corrective lenses if you have vision issues.

In addition to the mask, the package includes a reusable facepiece, four P95 filters, two organic vapor cartridges, two face shield covers, and two filter retainers. The reusable design means you won’t need to invest in additional components each time the mask is used.


  • Features full-face mask with a lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Designed to keep out fumes from painting, sanding, and polishing in the workforce
  • Filter cartridges are a standard size to keep out airborne particles using the best filter options


  • Gas masks are not created to keep out chemical agents over a long period of time

9. Mestel Safety Full Face Gas Mask, Anti-Gas Respirator Mask SGE 400/3 BB

Mestel Safety Full Face Gas Mask, Anti-Gas Respirator Mask SGE 400/3 BB

The Mestel SGE is one of the best options for a gas mask you could hope to find. It offers a scratch and solvent proof one-piece full visor for durability and a long life. The main piece is the facial component, which is a round, large surface in front of the eyes. This is set back from the rest of the mask to reduce scratching risk. It has a rubber seal to meet CBRN requirements.

This mask has a polycarbonate body that offers full protection to your eyes and face. That means the mask is not only good for fumes and small debris but also large impacts. Testing shows that the body can protect you against a 6.35 caliber bullet going at more than 150 meters per second. It offers full protection of your face while you are using it.

The filter ports of this item take a standard filter which many manufacturers sell. The nasal and oral area of the mask is made from medical grade silicon rubber, which is designed to contact the body for extended periods without causing allergic reactions or irritation. The rest of the sturdy mask offers great sealing when inhaling and is soft enough to open when you exhale.


  • CBRN mask offers CBRN protection and is designed for use in all sorts of situations
  • Gas masks have a comfortable fit and come with adjustable straps for quality protection over a long time period
  • Mestel SGE offers a one-piece full visor with a butyl rubber seal for durability and a long life


  • Doesn’t come with a drinking straw which may be a negative for some users

10. PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator Eye Protection Industrial Grade Quality

PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator Eye Protection Industrial Grade Qu

This respirator is a high-quality device that is available for a reasonable price. It has many of the same features as the top brands but without a premium for having those things. To show how durable and trustworthy this item is, the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you find it doesn’t meet your needs, you can get a full refund of the money you spent. It comes with respirators along with two activated carbon air filters and an instruction manual.

There are many situations where this gas mask can be used, including environments with paint, chemicals, and polishes in the air. It can also be used for mining, firefighting, and metallurgy environments. The mask is a professional protective device made of non-toxic materials. It meets ASTM E2952-14 standards and is certified by NIOSH.

The design of this gas mask uses a head belt that will keep the mask steady while protecting you without being uncomfortable. It offers anti-scratch lenses for great visibility and anti-fogging features so you can do what you need to do in any environment. It also features a voice device that lets you communicate clearly and at a reasonable volume.


  • Designed to offer the best protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical agents while being comfortable to wear for some time
  • Gas masks offer a wide field of view and a great seal when using for long periods
  • Full-face gas mask comes with respirator, cartridges, and a durable breathing valve


  • Mask filter has fallen off for some users and may not provide top protection

11. 3M Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator FF-402

M Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator FF-402

This is one of the best 3M gas masks, and it is designed for industrial and occupation use, rather than use by the average homeowner. This item has a secure fit through a head harness with six straps for a secure fit. It has a comfortable cradle to ensure it stays in a comfortable area on your head while in use. It comes with 3M cool flow valves for comfort while keeping you cool.

The nose cup and face seal of this gas mask are made from a soft silicone material that adds to the comfort of the device. This also is a durable material that you can easily clean after use. It’s made to be resistant to stains and paint, so these items will bead up, and you can easily wipe them away. The large lens gives you great visibility while the product is in use.

There is a speaking component in this mask, so you can talk to others near you clearly and simply. The mask is simple to use with cartridge attachments and respirator filters that twist off and off. It also has bonded silicone gaskets, so they won’t come loose and be lost during use.


  • Designed with six adjustable straps for an excellent fit and a quality seal over time
  • Gas masks are easy to use with twist-off filters and cartridges that easily come off and go on to provide protection
  • Uses 40mm standard NATO gas mask filter that protect against gases, vapors, and particulates


  • Lens may not be as durable as mask as some people have experienced scratches

12. Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask NBC Protection with Drinking Straw/Tube

Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask NBC Protection with Drinking Straw/Tube

This item is another that comes with a drinking straw to make life a little easier when you need to use it. It also comes with a standard 40mm filter that will fit the gas mask, so you don’t need to make an additional purchase. The mask features several straps that go around your head to promise an airtight seal with an NBC filter.

You get a gas mask that fits anyone thanks to the adjustable straps so you can be prepared in an emergency. In addition to that, the device is created using professional-grade materials for durability. It has a lens made of scratch-resistant polycarbonate, so it will hold up longer when in use. It’s also a mask that has enough room that you should be able to wear glasses when using it.

It is recommended that this gas mask be used in industrial and commercial environments. It can offer protection while painting, dusting, sanding, and grinding. It also has fume protection and can resist smoke and tear gas. Since it comes in a single size and fits everyone, you don’t have to worry about getting the right fit for every member of your family.


  • Gas masks come with 40mm mask filters to provide respiratory protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical agents
  • NBC certified and made of the best polycarbonate lens for a wide field of view
  • Comes with a drinking straw so you can wear for some time without getting uncomfortable


  • Some users have not received the filters expected to come in the package

13. Russian Rubber Mask for Respiratory Protection

Russian Rubber Mask for Respiratory Protection

If you’re looking at a military gas masks, this Russian mask is going to offer the protection you need for your respiratory system. This is a vintage gas mask that is from the 1970s, and it has aged just fine to offer protection when you need it. Even though it’s an older device, it still fits with 40mm NATO filters, so you have a selection of options.

When you purchase this gas mask, you get it as well as a carry bag, a box for the lenses, and filters. Each of the filters has all its factory seals and comes in a paper wrapping. Unlike most of the masks we have looked at, this one is largely manufactured from rubber but has two areas where you can look out of it. It has an authentic look and is made from a GP-5M grey rubber.

Unfortunately, this gas mask doesn’t work well with glasses, so contact lenses are needed if you have vision deficits. However, it does seal tight without any issues. It can get warm inside if you wear it for an extended period, but there are vents under the eyepieces to prevent fogging from happening.


  • Comes in a set with gas mask, filters, anti-fog lenses box, and a carrying bag
  • All gas mask filters come with factory seals to provide quality and protect you each time the mask is in use
  • Offers an excellent seal around your head and top field of view for quality protection


  • May require new filters and cleaning to offer the best fit and protection at the time you use it

14. Mira Safety CM-2M Child Gas Mask full Face Protective Respirator for CBRN Defense

14. Mira Safety CM-2M Child Gas Mask full Face Protective Respirator for CBRN Defense

This is one of the best military gas masks for children that uses an NBC filter. It comes in two sizes, one of which is appropriate for children under six, and the other of which will fit up to teenagers. It uses NBC filters to keep out toxic agents and can help protect your child in a disaster. It protects against poison, biologicals, radioactive dust, aerosols, and iodine radionuclides.

Each of these masks was created in 2019, and they offer a 10-year shelf life. The masks are created using PMK-S rubber and feature 40mm NBC filters. These are the same filters used for larger gas masks so there is no need to buy special filters. The mask itself has a film to prevent fogging when it’s being used for long periods of time. This is a special issue product to ensure children are as protected as adults when needed.

This mask is based on Russian mask designs and has been tested to work in even the worst disasters. It offers proper protection of the respiratory system for children, who are more susceptible to damage and adverse health effects.


  • Child-sized CBRN gas mask comes in two sizes and offers a quality seal over a long time period
  • Gas masks fit over the head and are compliant with a 40mm filter used in adult NBC compatible masks
  • CBRN mask fits children as young as 18 months and protects against chemical agents


  • Doesn’t come with a backpack or easy transportation option

15. KZD-6 Protective Enclosure / Infant Gas Mask for Small Children & Pets_NOT AVAILABLE_

If you have a child that is smaller than 18 months in age, the best fit for them isn’t going to be a gas mask that goes over their head to seal. This is an enclosure that people can order to keep young children and pets safe from everything from aerosol fumes to radioactive dust and iodine radionuclides. If you are going to be using it for a pet, keep in mind that its design is for pets under 30 pounds of weight.

This enclosure offers a dual-layer rubberized fabric to create the highest durability while ensuring the product is light and portable. There are two filtration ports on it to ensure easy breathing and less resistance. Two small windows are also in the item, so you can easily look inside to see how the child or animal is doing. The frame with this enclosure is made of metal for a longer life.

Inside the enclosure are interior pockets that you can use to store food or bottles. There is also a mitten insert so you can reach the child to feed and care for it. It has a shoulder strap so you can carry it easily, and it’s made to allow mounting to a sled, stroller, or wagon. The item has a 10-year shelf life and can offer six hours of protection.


  • Enclosure offers quality protection against pepper spray and other toxins for small children and pets
  • Offers respiratory protection with two filtration ports and a reinforced metal frame made to last a long time
  • Device has a cape and shoulder strap to protect children while on the move


  • Not an actual gas mask respirator but provides an option for smaller animals and children

Best Survival Gas Masks Buyers Guide

Though this might be common knowledge, but in case it’s not, a gas mask is used to filter out harmful pollutants in the air such as chemicals, radiation, or any other harmful compounds.

A gas masks filter works much like an air filter of water filter, in that there are layers that trap and obsorp pollutants. There are usually three layers that act to remove particles. The first is much like a coffee filter and acts to remove only larger particles. A second layer acts as an absorption mechanism, that binds to any harmful substance. This layer is usually activated charcoal, which is a carbon that has the ability to absorb any substance that comes into contact with it. 

All of the filtration processes is usually done with a removable and replaceable filter that is separate from the mask and is replaced. Each filter will last anywhere from 8-24hrs of continuous use.

Filter Certification

There are many varieties of masks in the market each with a whole range of numbers and acronyms that can be a little confusing. The most important one you should pay attention to is:

  • CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear)

This is the industry standard and the most comprehensive and he highest civilian grade mask you can get.

There are several other rating systems such as :

  • NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical)
  • CBA –RCA (Chemical, Biological Agent-Riot Control

The standard of gas masks is regulated by the (NIOSH) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health ensures that masks that are distributed to civilians adhere to a standard needed for safe usage.

There are a variety of masks that are designed for different purposes, such as dust masks and half respirators. There is a big difference between a CBRN mask and any other, especially ones that are used for dust, woodworking, or construction as they do not offer the same capacity to protect.

What to know about Gas Masks

Protection Using a Respirator Mask

The best gas mask you can buy today is a far cry from the original gas masks designed with chromium in the filter, something we know now is hazardous for your health. With improvements to comfort, filtration, and seals, there are many options for gas masks on the market today.

Each gas mask is created to protect against certain agents. While many protect people from a wide range of toxins, you need to know what each mask offers protection from before making a purchase. For most of the population, even those who want a general gas mask for defense should consider a military-grade gas mask respirator

When you are searching through gas masks, there are a few things to look for in terms of the way the gas mask will protect you. As an example, a CBRN gas mask will provide the highest level of protection from nuclear, chemical, radioactive, and biological agents. A respirator mask with this rating is going to be verified and rated to handle all of these toxins.

Unlike a CBRN gas mask, NBC gas masks provide protection for all the above items except for radioactive items. A gas mask with an NBC rating has been rated and verified to handle all of the other agents for up to eight hours. There are other ratings you might see on a gas mask, like RCA, CBA, or specialty ratings that indicate how well the gas masks can filter out a specific toxin.

The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) also offers rating number classes for respirators. Most of the top gas masks on the market will show the NIOSH rating, so you know how effective they will be. The rating system is as follows:

Rating Letter ClassRating Number Class
N = Not resistant to oil95 – Can remove up to 95% of airborne particles
R = Offers resistance to oil99 – Removes up to 99% of particles in the air
P = Is completely oil-proof100 – Can remove up to 99.7% of air particles

When you see a NIOSH rating, it will be in the gas mark specifications and includes a letter from the left, followed by a number from the right. As an example, if the rating is R95, that means the respirator mask can provide filtering of 95% of particles and is resistant to oil. The lowest rating you should choose on a gas mask is N95, but the closer you get to P100, the better.

Any of the gas masks you see with NIOSH, CBRN, and NBC ratings show credibility. However, there are other decisions to make when choosing an M50 gas mask. For instance, a mask for gas can come in a half-masked or full-face respirator design. The best gas mask will often be a full-face design, which is why you often see security, law enforcement, and military personnel using them.

You also need to consider what filter cartridge is used in the respirators you might be wearing. In general, gas masks that use a 40mm NATO thread are the best option as they are the most common. While wearing this gas mask, you can choose from a large variety of NATO filters. You can select a different thread type, but it will often limit the filters you can choose from.

Types of Filters

The 40mm gas mask filter also referred to as the NATO 40mm standard is the most commonly used threading. Each filter will last roughly 8-24 hours depending on the person and the usage before they need to be replaced.

  • Class 1: filters 1,000 parts per million
  • Class 2: filters up to 5,000 parts per million
  • Class 3: filters up to 10,000 parts per million

There are 3 different categories of filters: 

  • Particles filters – which protect against dusts, aerosols, bacteria, viruses 
  • Gas filters – which protect against gases, organic and inorganic vapors and acids
  • Combined filters – which protect against gas and particles substances

Level of Visibility with Gas Masks

Visibility and field of view matter to everyone, but are especially important when a firefighter, military member, or law enforcement officer is wearing a gas mask. These individuals are placed in situations where the ability to identify objects and risks is crucial since their decisions can lead to heavy consequences or rewards.

The top gas masks will typically use a singular lens since this offers the best visual clarity and minimizes potential obstructions to your peripheral vision. As an example, some people who use gas masks find that goggle masks do not offer the level of freedom needs to survey the things around them in a quick time.

Another concern with a gas mask and visibility is the material used to create the goggles or lenses of the mask. This can affect the clarity while wearing the mask, which is especially important in survival situations. The top of the line respirators often only cover up about an inch of your vision. It’s also important to consider whether the visor of the gas mask is heat resistant to some degree.

Comfort When You Wear a Mask for Gas

In most cases, if you are in a situation where you need a gas mask, you are going to need to wear it for a long time. The agents that a gas mask is made to protect you from aren’t going to disappear in a few minutes time in most cases. Since you risk needing to wear gas masks for hours at a time, it’s best to be sure the gas mask fits you well.

The best comfort when wearing a gas mask relies on two different features that can differ on various respirators. The first is the nose cup of the gas mask, which is going to offer protection to your nose and mouth when wearing it. If you have a gas mask that pinches your cheek or a respirator that presses down on your own, that is going to get uncomfortable as time passes. However, if the gas mask doesn’t offer a snug fit, you could be exposed to dangerous toxins.

You should also consider what kind of straps the gas mask uses when thinking about comfort. In a survival situation, the straps secure the gas mask onto your face, so it fits tight to offer the best seal and level of protection. As with the nose cup, you want to be wearing straps that are adjustable enough to offer freedom in terms of fit. If the straps make the gas mask too tight, it can squeeze your head and get uncomfortable over time.

Communication and Hydrations Options with a Gas Mask

When you are looking for the best masks, you also want to consider convenience when it comes to communicating with others and staying hydrated. Some masks don’t take this into consideration and may not offer a speech diaphragm or a means to drink. This won’t cut it in a situation where you are focused on survival and need to keep things like tear gas away from your body. That’s why choosing a gas mask with a way to connect an approved drinking tube is a good idea.

Military, law enforcement, and security workers are often part of a team, so the best gas mask is going to make it easy to communicate with others. Even if you are choosing a mask as defense in the case of a survival situation, choosing a gas mask with a speech diaphragm is the best option. If you work in a team, this is important to have for communication purposes.

Things to Keep in mind about Gas Masks

Types of Masks

There are many different types and variations of gas masks. We can roughly break them down into two types: a half-mask that covers only the nose and mouth and a full-face mask that encompasses all of the face above the eyes. In this list, we only covered the full-face gas masks.

A full-face mask provides more protection than a half-mask because full-face masks are airtight and provide a shield against any pollutants that might otherwise affect your eyes, which is important if you are looking for protection against chemicals.


The price point, or how much you would like to spend will largely determine the quality of mask you’re looking for. With that said there is always a good combination of quality. With most of these masks falling within the range of the 100-300 dollar mark you are likely to be able to find something that works for you.

Cheaper masks will be ones that are either half masks or non-CBRN models.


The durability of a gas mask is determined by the material it’s made of. The most common materials are rubber, silicone and plastic. The most durable are those made from rubber or silicone because they can withstand heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit without melting; however, these materials also tend to be more expensive than plastic ones which is why some people prefer them.

Most gas masks should have a shelf life of 20 years. However, it may be wise to check your masks every so often to be sure that the filter still works.


The weight of the mask while perhaps not the most important factor when getting a mask though it might come into play if you are looking for a mask for your bug-out bag or if you need to wear it for long periods of time. In that case, you would want something light so that it doesn’t feel like too much of a burden to lug around in your bag.

Heavier masks are more used for industrial purposes and are generally bigger and clunkier. Most of the tactical masks these days use sleeker designs so that law enforcement and the military can use their weapons without the mask interfering much.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Masks

Now, you have an idea of what to look for when you want the best mask possible for your needs. However, you may still have a few questions to ask. We’ll be answering some common questions below so you have all the information you need and can make the best purchase for your needs.

What is the best gas mask to buy?

The best gas mask for you may not be the same as the best mask for someone else. If you read over the information above, you can determine what to prioritize in your search. However, a rated and verified mask with a good fit, a high level of protection, and oil resistance is going to be the top option for most. Beyond that, consider what will meet your needs in the situation you will use the gas mask in.

What will a gas mask protect you from?

This depends entirely on the gas mask that you decide to purchase. For instance, many budget devices can offer protection from pepper spray, but may not hold up against chemical and nuclear agents. There are other options that can stand up to all sorts of agents, including the most destructive. Make sure you know what protection the gas mask you choose offers before you make a purchase decision.

Which gas mask does the U.S. military use?

There are several gas masks that have been in use by the United States military, all of which are CRBN masks of a military-grade. The M50 gas mask is the currently used gas mask for the military, which speaks to the quality of this sort of mask, even if you aren’t in a serious situation.

Would a gas mask help in a nuclear attack?

Determining whether your gas mask will help in a nuclear attack involves a bit of research. You want a mask with a great seal and a long life while stored since you never know when you are going to need it. The top masks for nuclear situations are CBRN, or NBC approved with an appropriate seal and filters. Facial hair can cause problems with the seal so avoiding a beard can be a good idea.

How does a gas mask work?

When you put on a gas mask, it filters the air that gets to you so it can be safely inhaled without letting in toxic air particles. A gas mask is capable of protecting you from both gas and particulate materials, which can cause lung issues when inhaled. The air can be purified through absorption, particle filtration, and/or chemical reaction.

How long do gas mask filters work?

The filter you choose has an effect on how long it will work when using the gas mask. While a gas mask itself might have a long life when in use, the same doesn’t apply to filters. In general, the life on a shelf can be anywhere from five to 10 years, but the filter itself in use will only last around 12 to 24 hours.

Where can you buy gas masks?

There are many places where you can buy a gas mask of your own. Amazon offers a wide selection of these devices to choose from. There are also specialty online shops that offer a variety of gas masks for you to use. If you prefer to purchase a gas mask in person, look at places like military supply stores and big box stores.


The reality is that the best gas mask is going to be based on your preferences and needs. This guide should have walked you through determining which of the gas masks are the best for your situation. Once you know that, you can go through the available masks and compare the ones that appeal to you. No matter your budget, there is likely to be a gas mask that will work for you.

Each of the masks we’ve mentioned is one of the best out there, so you can depend on them. Many of them are inexpensive and offer top protection when you need it the most. Let us know which one you chose and how it worked out for you below!

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